The Orchard by David Hopen had the potential of being a stunning debut novel. The coming age of a Jewish religious high school student feels unique. Hopen is an excellent technical writer. But the novel flips between preachy biblical sections and characters that fail to engage with the reader emotionally despite the horrific revelations and plot turns. And if you stick with the book, you will be rewarded with an implausible, farfetched and contrived ending.